Javed Siddiqi Play 'Andhe Choohe' is a murder mystery that gets its title from the Nursery Rhyme 'Three Blind Mice' . Javed Siddqui has written some of the best plays in Hindi that are at once intriguing and original. Andhe Choohe is a part of IPTA’s annual theatre festival ‘Jan Natyotsav 2004’. Directed By Jaspaul Sandu, the play, in the form of a Murder mystery throws light on social issues like adoption. The play is set in Ranikhet. A Young couple (Mukta and Girish) are a little anxious because it is the opening day of their new hotel. The wife is optimistic that the guests will arrive. However, the husband is skeptical about their arrival due to the weather. In the background, a radio announcement states that a murderer is on the loose, after killing a woman in Nainital. A brief description of the murderer is given. The description is extremely important, because most of the guests, who eventually arrive, have some clothing similar to that of the murderer. The story actually begins when Sub-Inspector Khare visits the hotel to investigate the murder, since there is some connection between the murder and the Hotel. Before interval, the story is not intriguing and we are not suspicious of anyone particularly. Till here the story moves at a slow pace.
It is only when one of the guests (Mrs. Bhagwat begin to quicken its pace. In the second half of the play the guessing game begins. One suspect points to the other and a lot of things are revealed about each character. The murderer is amongst the guests and he plays his game cleverly, like a cat playing with blind mice. All guests are trapped in the hotel with no means of communicating with the outside world. The telephone lines have been cut, and there is no mode of transport. No one knows who the murderer is. Everyone suspects that the story of the three children is the motive behind the murder. Three children were adopted several years ago. Lack of food and constant thrashings led to a traumatic childhood as the youngest sibling succumbed to his injuries and died. The sister was readopted and moved abroad. No one knows what happened to the third Brother. People suspect the missing brother to be the murderer, as his first victim is the mother who had adopted them. The whole plot takes a turn about post interval. We learn the reasons behind the two murders. It becomes obvious as to who the murderer is. Sub Inspector Khare has his moments of weakness and madness.
Unable to cope with the death of his brother, he cleverly thinks of murdering his third victim. However, this is prevented as one of the guests (who turns out to be Khare’s sister) plays with his emotions to distract him from his victim. The overall direction is good, but the story is expected, something like an Agatha Christie. Rakesh Bedi has given one of the best performances in the play. The cast also comprises of some senior members like Avatar Gill and to keep her accent intact throughtout the play and she is one of the most likeable characters in the play. Lighting and music are both very good in the play, as the sound effects that are created sound real. However, there is nothing extraordinary about the sets. The Ancestral haveli turned into a hotel does not have the beauty of a hotel or a haveli. Although the stage does have its limitations, more experimentation could have been done with the sets.
Direction - Jaspaul Sandhu
Starring - Vivek Marwah, Rakhi, Omprakash, Sulabha Arya, Amrit Pal, Rashmi Sharma, Avtar Gill and Rakesh Bedi